State authorities are warning organizers to cancel a “floatilla” event that is being promoted on social media for the July Fourth holiday at an East Oahu beach.
Officials with the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement said large gatherings violate emergency rules and orders implemented by the state to slow the spread of COVID-19.
They said “several hundred people have RSPV’d for the event.”
In a statement, DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said, “This floatilla event, being promoted on social media, is very concerning because it invites people to gather in a large group. We’re imploring anyone who has expressed their intention to attend this event to step back and consider their personal responsibility to their friends, their family and most especially, their kupuna.”
Law enforcement officers will be on patrol for any illegal floatilla activity, officials said.
“It is wrong for anyone to be organizing a floatilla event at this time. We take this information seriously and enforcement action will be taken if necessary,” Redulla added.
Violators will face arrest for breaking Hawaii’s emergency rules and orders, officials warn. Violations of the emergency rules are considered misdemeanors and carry penalties of up to a $5,000 fine and one year in jail.
A July Fourth floatilla off Waikiki in 2017 led to hundreds of rescues and at least 10 serious alcohol-related injuries as an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people participated in the event.
With 29 new confirmed coronavirus cases reported in Hawaii today, health officials urge the public to practice social distancing and continue to wear face coverings.